The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.

Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,

by Robert Couteau.

All text © Copyright 2005, 2012 Rob Couteau

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V. Other Considerations

1. Nodes, Travel, and the Triple-zero Transcendental

“Where do I belong?” is the essential question in astrocartography. And it is the question most often asked by clients, as well. As the previous biographical studies illustrate, Transcendental experiences of a singular nature often occur under the lines of the least aspected planets. While the focus of our study has been on the Primary through Tertiary Transcendentals, other considerations must be taken into account when analyzing astro-maps:
        In general, planets with a rating of “130” or less should be considered as somewhat Transcendental, no matter where they fall on the overall scale of rating (e.g., third, fourth, or fifth least aspected planet etc.). For example, with Mohammed Ali, Pluto (110) and Venus (111) are the only planets under 130; the remaining planets all have two or more (200+) major aspects. For Ali, the Primary and Secondary Transcen­dentals are the only Transcendentals that need to be considered. In the case of John F. Kennedy, however, we have five planets rated under 130: Sun (002), Saturn (021), Neptune (040), Pluto (050), and Venus (121). In such a case, the fourth and fifth Transcen­dentals need to be considered, as well. Another example is the biography of Alexander Graham Bell, whose relocation to his Secondary Neptune region was affected by the general proximity of an underaspected (i.e., highly concentrated) energy: his fourth least aspected planet, Uranus (the planet ruling invention), which received only one major and two minor planetary aspects (120).

        Another consideration involves the Transcendental Midpoint-Field (TMF) formed by the line of the Primary, Secondary, and/or Tertiary Transcen­dental. The importance of this phenomenon should now be clear; its signifi­cance is illustrated in many of the previous studies. Bearing in mind what we have said about planetary rating, however, additional factors come into play in the analysis of a client’s TMF. For example, if the Primary Transcenden­tal receives a low rating (e.g., 021), and the Secondary Transcendental receives a rating well above the 130 range (e.g., 221), then the geographical area near the Primary Transcen­dental line is given greater significance than the area in the center of the TMF. (“Near” being several longitudinal degrees on either side of the line.) In cases where the Primary and Secondary are each 130 or less, then the area in the center of the TMF is as significant as that of the area surrounding the Primary Transcendental line. In addition, when the fourth- or fifth least aspected planets are below 130, and when these lines enter into the TMF of the Primary, Second­ary, or Tertiary Planets, then such areas should be examined for a Transcendental potential.
        Finally, the themes symbolized by the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Tran­scendentals must be considered carefully: singularly and in combination with each other, as “planetary pairings.” This offers the client a fuller comprehension of the symbols reflected in his astrocartography. For example, someone with Primary Sun, Second­ary Mars, and Tertiary Saturn is, thematically speaking, focused on the spectrum of yang (or masculine) planets: moving from a “collective” (Saturn) to an “interactive” (Mars) and finally toward a “personal perspective” (Primary Sun). Another way of saying this might be to remark that the “individualizing” of the Sun is refined through the “interaction” of Mars and “worked through to completion” with Saturn. A client with entirely yin (or feminine) planets, such as the poet Elizabeth Browning (whose four least aspected planets were each yin), would be more focused on the soulful, “merging” aspect of psychic energy rather than on the identity-building and -shedding quality of yang energy (the latter is characterized by a “separating” quality). Browning’s Transcendental were Venus (112), Neptune (102), Moon (030), and Jupiter (010).
        Sometimes, the Primary and Secondary Transcendentals each reflect a complimentary level of ontological development. For example, the pairing of Sun / Moon describes the most personal or individual development of “self” (Sun) and “soul” (Moon) experience. Mars / Venus continue this devel­opment into the interpersonal level of relationship, with complimentary qualities such as “desire” (Mars) and “harmony” (Venus). Jupiter / Sat­urn symbolize social-collective issues, such as “social organization” (Saturn) and “collective representations of the soul” (Jupiter). Neptune / Pluto emphasize transpersonal dimensions of being, including experiences that reflect a “transcendence of personal identity” (Pluto) and a “merging of the personal soul with the anima mundi or world soul” (Neptune). With Mercury and Uranus–planetary energies that either combine (Mer­cury) or transcend (Uranus) yin and yang categories–we have the formation of “cognition and communication” (Mercury) combined with a “divinely inspired, intu­itively reformed consciousness” (Uranus). The Uranus / Mercury Transcendental pairing unites “knowledge of what we are” (Mercury) with the gnosis of “what we are meant to be” (Uranus). As illustrated in our biographies, these represent several possible planetary pairings.
        While the Primary and Secondary Transcendentals are easy to calculate (see appendix A), there remains the question of which location–out of all possible places where a Tran­scendental line may fall–is the best one? The Transcendental Midpoint-Field (TMF), especially at its narrowest, most potent point, often helps to further refine the selection process. The additional presence of a Tertiary Tran­scendental moving through the TMF may further narrow the choice, as would the addition of other underaspected planets (rated 130 or less) that pass through a TMF.

Other Considerations

i. Factors in the overall natal chart

Besides the calculation of least- to most aspected, the horoscope must be analyzed in its entirety, as this will further clarify the nature of particular aspects, espe­cially regarding their functioning in the horoscope as a synthetic whole. But the sys­tem of gauging the underaspected nature of certain planets provides us with a fundamental baseline that can easily be applied to a large number of charts and which reveals a clearer picture of the spectrum of planetary potency.
        In general, a planet with three or more major aspects presents a qualita­tively different form of energy (perhaps, even a blockage) than a planet with only one major aspect. The expression of this qualitative difference is particularly obvious in our Transcendental biographies.

ii. On determining the Primary Transcendental when several planets are equally underaspected

In horoscopes in which most of the planets receive a large number of aspects (e.g., three or more major aspects [300]), with one or two planets receiving zero-to-one major aspect (000-100), the latter group of underaspected planets is clearly Transcendental in relation to the overaspected planets. Relocation to the region of these key Tran­scendentals will enhance the planetary principles in question and help the native to focus on his goals.
        In horoscopes in which several planets are rated equally (e.g., sev­eral with a 112 aspect rating), it is more difficult to determine the true Pri­mary or Secondary Transcendental. In such cases, the important thing to remember is that an understanding of the symbolism of the Transcendentals (and the specific goals they portray) is of greater value than trying to precisely determine the Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Transcendental. The appearance of several equally underaspected planets may indicate that there is not a single Primary Tran­scendental. On the other hand, by studying the core symbols, the client may be able to pinpoint a key Transcendental factor within his chart. (By all means: listen to the client!)
        Likewise, in horoscopes with planets that are rated almost the same in numerical strength, it is difficult to determine the true Primary Transcendental. For example, Uranus (100), Venus (101), and Mars (102), may be so close in their numerical rating that it seems questionable to distinguish between them.
        A more important question might revolve around the study of the Transcendental Midpoint-Field, as two or three of these least aspected planets may form a pattern (of wedge-shaped or parallel lines) in proximity to each other, indicating that the area between them is highly charged (and therefore, is filled with positive potential). An adequate collection of biographical information may indicate that significant Transcendental experiences have already occurred in certain regions within this field, therefore corroborating its significance. In studying the horoscope of a famous person, the significance of a particular loca­tion may not become apparent until the areas formed between the Primary and Secondary Transcendentals are highlighted as Transcendental Midpoint-Fields: these will then reveal regions of central significance in the biography. (Numerous examples of this are included here.)

Theoretical elements in need of additional research

Areas worthy of additional research include:
•The role of the North Node in astrocartography (and especially its relationship to the Primary Transcendental or to other key Transcendentals).
•The role of the “triple-zero” Transcendental: a planet lacking traditional major, minor, or Midheaven-Ascendant aspects.

i. The Transcendental Node

The Moon’s Nodes signify two points in space, 180 degrees apart, where the orbit of the Moon crosses the orbital plane of the earth (like two interlocking circles that touch at the opposite points of their shared axis). Visualizing the earth’s orbital plane as a flat, stationary disk, the point at which the Moon’s orbit rises (from south to north) or “ascends” past the edge of the earth’s orbital plane is called the Ascending or North Node; the point formed by the north-to-south circular move­ment past the circumference of the earth’s orbital plane is called the South or Descending Node. In the past, these were known as the Dragon’s Head (Caput Draconis) and the Dragon’s Tail (Cauda Draconis). Astronomically, they correspond to the points of the solar and lunar eclipse. According to an ancient myth, a dragon inhabits these points: he swal­lows the orbiting bodies as they transit past his lair. In India, they are known by the Sanskrit terms Rahu and Kethu.2 Until recently, their meaning has generally been accorded greater sig­nificance in Hindu astrology than it has in Western horoscope.
        Because the Moon’s yin symbolism is concerned with emotions and emo­tionally based unions, the Moon’s Nodes are interpreted as having something to do with relationships. Robert Hand regards them as “an axis of relationship,” with the North Node signifying the formation of unions and possessing a “joining quality” and the South Node signifying the dissolution of unions and containing a “separating quality.”3 Because the Nodes are formed at the point of the Sun’s apparent revolution around the earth, Hand conjectures they share “something of the quality of the Sun / Moon midpoint.” If so, then the Nodes are related to the effect that unions or relation­ships have on the self-identity. “Self-identity or ego-growth / enhanced through positive unions” (Sun / Moon) might be a working equation for the North Node, while “outgrown notions of identity / associated with unions and relationships in the past” might describe the South Node.
        Natal aspects to the North Node reflect a native’s potential for healthy relationships (in particular, with intimate relationships). As discussed in my essays on the Transcendental Planets, the Moon triggers a process of yin- or emotionally toned growth within an individual’s life. Ideally, this yin development is extended from internal union (within one’s own soul) to the intimate, inter­personal union symbolized by Venus. The placement of the Moon’s Nodes in the horoscope symbolizes one’s ability to maintain intimate unions and to deepen interpersonal inti­macy” (Venus), since they reflect an “inherent emotional stability and strength” (Moon) that the native possesses and which he experiences on a daily basis as an essential part of his “identity” (Sun).
        In the sense that one must love oneself in order to love another, the Nodes symbolize the ability to love and to respect oneself. Indeed, the internal union of self and soul (i.e., the union of yang and yin within oneself) is the surest indicator of one’s capacity to form a healthy union with another person. Natal aspects to the North Node portray relationship patterns that continually surface in life, either in the form of obstacles that block the healthy formation of relation­ships or as opportunities that enhance emotionally based unions.
        For example, a natal aspect to the North Node symbolizing a “money problem” or a “career problem” should also be interpreted as a problem directly bearing an effect on one’s ability to form and develop significant relationships.4  Conversely, harmonious aspects to the North Node indicate enduring emotional strength and stability.
        Just as the Moon rules emotional patterning in early life and the resultant formation of autonomous psychological complexes, the Moon’s Nodes also sym­bolize “creative complexes” that enhance one’s growth (North Node) or “destructive com­plexes” that one must overcome in order to prevent them from inhibiting one’s growth (South Node). Just as the Primary Transcendental describes a spiritual raison d’être, the Transcendental Node reflects a need for union based on significant emotional values and meaning.
        Because the Nodes are qualitatively different from the planetary principles represented by the celestial spheres, it is impossible to assess the Transcendental potential of the Node in direct relationship to the planets. The Node is probably best gauged separately, as regards its own inherent strength or weakness. If the North Node is underaspected, receiving only one major aspect and no more than three minor aspects (130), the geographic line of the North Node will be of some significance if it falls within the Transcendental region of the Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Transcendental. If the North Node receives an aspect rating of more than 130, however, it should then be considered “non-Transcendental.” (E.g., there is no such thing as a Primary Transcen­dental Jupiter and a Secondary Transcendental Node but, rather, a Transcendental Node or a non-Transcendental Node, either of which will accompany a Primary Jupiter (or some other Primary Planet) in the composition of a Transcendental portrait.)
        The astrocartog­raphy line of the North Node may indicate locations where important personal meetings have occurred; it may also point to the birthplace of people who have played an important role in the life of the native. The only other “constant” in my experience regarding this symbol has been that the Transcendental Node regions* are especially important when they coincide with the vicinity of the Primary or Secondary Planet or with the Transcendental Midpoint-Field formed between them.
* Again, the Transcendental Node contains no more than one major and three minor (130 or less) planetary aspects.

Biographical examples of the underaspected North Node:

Clara Barton (030); William Blake (110); Robert Burton (021); Richard E. Byrd (001); Bill Clinton (110); Sigmund Freud (111); Indira Gandhi (112); Paul Gauguin (110); George Harrison (010); Grace Kelly (111); John F. Kennedy (110); Katherine Mansfield (100); Michelangelo (131); Richard Nixon (010); Pablo Picasso (111); Rainer Maria Rilke (040); Dante Gabriel Rossetti (102); Edith Sitwell (021); Ringo Starr (121); Algernon Swinburne (011); Harry S. Truman (010); Jules Verne (111); George Washington (100). For more on the Transcendental Node, see my FAQ section.

ii. The triple-zero Transcendental

A planet is considered a “triple-zero” when it receives no traditional major, minor, or Midheaven-Ascendant aspects (000). Because the “triple-zero” is rela­tively rare, more work will have to be done to ascertain the difference between the “triple-zero” and other forms of Transcendental energy.*
* Technically speaking, any angle of separation between planets represents an aspect of some sort but not necessary one recognized as having a widespread traditional meaning or generally agreed upon importance. In that sense, there are no astronomically unaspected planets, although we can speak of underaspected planets in the context of tradi­tional astrological assumptions.

Biographical and historical examples of the triple-zero Transcendental:

Caesar Augustus (Pluto); Teilhard de Chardin (Pluto); King Louis XIV (equally-underaspected Sun-Uranus); Iris Murdoch (Neptune); Alfred Lord Tennyson (Neptune); Nikola Tesla (Mercury).

Events: Cornwallis’s surrender of the British to George Washington (Mercury, with Sec­ondary Saturn).

1. Dreyer, Indian Astrology, pp. 59-60.
2. Hand, Horoscope Symbols, pp. 89-90. See also his Planets in Composite.
3. Since the North and South Nodes are positioned 180 degrees apart, an aspect to the North Node is reflected “in reverse” upon the South Node and could portray the dynamics at work in “dissolving” relationships or in dissolving psychological complexes that are inhibiting positive psychic growth.
4. Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis, “Unaspected Planets,” pp. 170-186.

2. Transcendental Astrology and the ‘Sacred’ Dimension of Space

Every sacred place is the place
where eternity shines through time.
–Joseph Campbell

For religious man, space is not homogeneous; he experiences interruptions, breaks in it; some parts of space are qualitatively different from others.… There is, then, a sacred space, and hence a strong, significant space; there are other spaces that are not sacred and so are without structure or consistency, amorphous. Nor is this all. For religious man, this spatial nonhomogeneity finds expression in the experience of an opposition between space that is sacred–the only real and really existing space–and all other space, the formless expanse surrounding it. [...] The Center is precisely the place where a break in plane occurs, where space becomes sacred, hence pre-eminently real. A creation implies a superabundance of reality, in other words an irruption of the sacred into the world.
–Mircea Eliade,
The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion.

        Just as religious experience is often characterized by a break in profane space, Transcendental Astrology portrays spatial patterns that contain important symbols that transcend our profane reality. Because the key Transcendentals represent core goals in our individu­ation process, such planetary pairings symbolize a unique approach to understanding each person’s developmental needs.
        Although relocation astrology has always offered a spatial dimension to astrology’s predominantly time-oriented craft, the astrocartography software developed by Jim Lewis and Gregg Howe significantly advanced the study of astrological “space.” Now, researchers will discover an additional refinement in the notion of a Transcendental location. As I trust these studies have illustrated, the Transcendental offers a unifying symbol concerning astrocartography and traditional horoscope analysis.


Next Section:

V. Additional Biographies & Events



Introduction Transcendental Moon Transcendental Sun
Transcendental Mercury Transcendental Venus Transcendental Mars
Transcendental Jupiter Transcendental Saturn Transcendental Uranus
Transcendental Neptune Transcendental Pluto Numinous Consciousness



Revised & updated: 5 August 2005


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I. Introduction

II. Transcendental Biographies    |    III. Transcendental Events

IV. Psychic inflation    -    Summary of Planetary Symbolism

   -    Transcendental Planets        

V. Nodes / the Triple-zero Transcendental    |    Appendices: Orbs / References / Data

Additional Maps    |    Notes    |    Bibliography    |    FAQ


I. Interview in Astrolore    |    II. Transcendental Nations    |    III. American Presidents & LAP Saturn

IV. World Events    |    V. Numinous Consciousness    

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